Finding the Truth – research methods in the biomedical sciences. III – In vitro and animal experiments

This post is concerned with all experiments that do not involve the use of living people. In vitro experiments are literally those done “in glass” although in practice many experimental vessels these days are actually made of plastic. This category includes experiments done with micro-organisms, isolated cells, cell-free systems like broken cells or isolated enzymes…

Finding the Truth – methods in biomedical research. II – Observational and epidemiological methods

Types of observational approaches In this first section there is a brief explanation of some of the observational approaches used by biomedical scientists with simple illustrative examples. Geographical comparisons Differences in some aspect of the environment, lifestyle or diet of several populations are related to their death rates or incidence of a particular disease or…

What makes superfoods super?

Introduction According to Professor David Bender the concept of superfoods was developed in the USA in 2003-4 and introduced into Britain in an article in the Daily Mail in December 2005 entitled “The top 10 super foods”. Superfood is an informal designation and so there is no precise definition or definitive list of superfoods. If…

The Protein Gap – nutritional science’s biggest error

The protein gap – nutritional science’s biggest error Sayan Puangkham/Shutterstock Geoff Webb, University of East London In the three decades following World War II it became an almost universal belief of nutritional scientists that protein deficiency was the most serious and widespread dietary deficiency in the world. Improving protein nutrition became a high priority for…

Paul Kammerer 1880-1926 and the case of the midwife toad.

Overview Paul Kammerer was an Austrian biologist and expert on amphibians (herpetologist) who in September 1926 shot himself in the head 6 weeks after being accused in an article in Nature of faking one of his most important specimens. This was just before he was due to take up a senior scientific post in the…